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<nettime> It's a pity we only exist in the future - Goethe Institut Nair
Afro Max on Sat, 7 Feb 2009 15:56:45 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> It's a pity we only exist in the future - Goethe Institut Nairobi - curated by African Maximalism


A show on public space in Nairobi, hosted by the Goethe-Institut 
Nairobi, curated by African Maximalism . Opening 13th February 2009


Art, understood as an imaginative representation of the world, is not 
only an integral part of everyday life, but can also be seen as a 
barometer of intellectual freedom. Art in the public sphere, that is the 
performing of cultural expressions in public, is a further distillation 
of this and a critical indicator of a culturally healthy society.

Nairobi, a vibrant city and a leading African metropolis, pulsates with 
a wealth of new forms of cultural expression, many of which exist beyond 
the frontiers of conventional institutions. 'It's a pity that we only 
exist in the future' is an exploration of the city's terrain with the 
aim of representing these fascinating phenomena within the context of a 
discourse about public space.

This is by no means an exhaustive show, but rather a sample of the 
city's cultural nuggets. From matatus to community radio, from art 
performance to grassroots TV, from rappers to mobile photographers, we 
try to showcase the spectrum of culture on offer. The show will be 
accompanied by a series of informal PsychoSafaris (discussions and 
excursions). 'It's a pity that we only exist in the future' is curated 
by African Maximalism, an open source movement.



Excerpts from an interview between African Maximalism and Alexander Nikolic:

a.n.: Thanks that you invited me for the show, it's possible that i have 
quite a developed idea, about art and public space in general, but how 
and why did you choose such a topic, and what is there relevant for you, 
in terms of Nairobi?

AM: In the sphere of local contemporary art practice it seems that 
artists are not engaging with public space, hence the title as a 
provocation. But if you further interrogate local cultural production, 
and understand art in public space as the performance of cultural 
expression in public, than Nairobi is a goldmine.

a.n: What's provocative about the title, and by the way, do you know the 
story about the gold of the socialists international? If it would have 
been found by the capitalists, it would have
turned in their hands, into coal.

AM: Of course the title suggests that art practice in public space does 
not exist, or is an almost utopian fantasy, but actually this is not the 
case. It is merely that the local institutions, which incidentally are 
almost exclusively controlled by foreign interests, do not showcase or 
represent this form of local art production.

a.n: Maybe, we get later back to the foreign interests, but what is your 

AM: Our goal is twofold, to disrupt the current practice of the local 
art institutions, and shift their focus to recognise a local cultural 
practice, which is simply not featured. However, neither do we seek 
simply to celebrate an 'exotic' art practice. By including these artists 
within this space, we also intend to challenge them, and to stimulate 
within them further questioning of their own practice.

a.n: And the danger that the gold could turn into coal?

AM: Than we crush it into diamonds.

..... (to read the rest of the interview check www.african-maximalism.org)


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